Sunday, January 29, 2012
I write this, unfortunately, with a heavy heart. It is a heart filled with sadness. But I have something I want to say to, as the newspapers and TV news call them, the twenty something black males in dark clothing. I’ve heard that description from so many friends describing their attackers. It was also the description of the guy who stole my man’s car out of my driveway. So, for the first time, I want to express that I am so sick of being the victim, either directly or indirectly, of twenty something black males in dark clothing.
So this message goes out to all the twenty something black males in dark clothing, and their mamas. Look, I know its not all of you, but’s its too damn many who feel completely justified in terrorizing, assaulting and stealing from the other 90% of us around you. I’m not quite sure what your problem is. I don’t know why 13 of you are on the corner at 1pm in the afternoon.
I don’t know why you are determined to force me to look at your underwear. I don’t know why you somehow you feel as if you can take what you want. I don’t know why you feel like you can disrespect women and the elderly and those that look different from you. I don’t know why you left school because, by judging what i see on a daily basis, it certainly wasn’t to go to work.
So I want to let you know black men in your twenties with dark clothing, that I am sick of your shit. Perhaps you had no father around, perhaps your mother set no limits. Perhaps you were never held accountable for you behavior. I really don’t give a fuck. Perhaps you were your mother’s little prince who could do no wrong. But I will tell you that I am so sick of your foolishness. I am tired of your dumb black cigarettes, I am tired of you beating and robbing my neighbors and stealing my shit. I don’t care how tough your life is or rough you had it, perhaps the first step to bettering your miserable life is leaving me and my stuff the hell alone.
I can’t speak for all communities, just for my own. This is not a generalization, this is reality. Do young white men commit crimes? Of course they do. But not in my neighborhood. Not on this block. I’m talking about what I know. I long for a world where a young black man is the protector of women in his community, and not the victimizer. Where I don’t have to call the police again because some twenty something black males with dark clothing are assaulting yet another gay man or woman or old lady.
I’m not sure from whence you came, but in case you were unaware, the people you love to take from so much are hard working people who go to work every day, who save their money, who have dreams, who have families that love them. For you to find it so easy to snuff the life out of them because you want some new shiny thing that you are too lazy to work for is reprehensible. And I’m tired of society’s excuses for you.
Don’t get me wrong. I want to advocate for better lives for young people. I want to help and support and give back to young people. But how can I do that when every time I am victimized it is at your hands? I know it isn’t all of you but it’s too damn many, and frankly I’m starting not to be able to tell the difference anymore.
Twenty something black male in dark clothing, I am so angry that you have made me fear you. That you have changed who I am with your relentless attacks on me and my neighbors. How can I effectively advocate for someone I fear? Why would I go to the mat for you, if afterwards you’re going to break into my house? I long for the day you appeared at my house to shovel snow, not to case my home.
It saddens me, twenty something black males in dark clothing, that I can’t look at you with adoration and pride about your generation. That I am not hopeful for your future. And for all the amazing twenty something black males in dark clothing that are doing the right thing, you too need to step up because the others are giving you a bad name.
And you know what? Some of you did have a parent that cared. He or she did tell you how important your education was, how important a hard day’s work was. But you, like most teens didn’t listen because you thought you knew everything. You looked to Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy for your inspiration and ignored everyone in your life that actually had your best interest in mind. And life has been downhill ever since.
And now, you’re my problem.
I look at you and see all the potential for your life, potential you probably were never made aware of. I look at all the future husbands and fathers and scientists and lawyers and teachers and electricians and computer programmers, who have chosen, instead, to settle for the worst life has to offer.
But you know what, I’m really sorry you had awful parents. I’m really sorry no one cared and no one taught you better. But that still doesn’t give you the right to make me and the other million hard-working citizens of this city your bitch.
I look at you and so badly want to see the next Barack Obama, but too often I don’t even take the time, because I’m too busy locking my door. Do better. There, I said it.